The decade's most triggering comedy
Critics agree the newest Marilyn Monroe biopic is like nothing that came before it. Their opinions diverge, however, on whether that’s a good or a bad thing.
Some reviewers claim the movie is too dark, focusing too much on the tragedy of Norma Jean Baker to the point of exploiting her misery. Others find this type of storytelling honest. But one aspect that most leftist reviewers are cringing over is the way “Blonde” deals with abortion and miscarriage. Filmmaker Andrew Dominik is accused of humanizing Monroe’s unborn children and of indirectly attributing her depression to losing them and never becoming a mother.
The writer-director spent more than a decade working on the three hour film, which is based on the Joyce Carol Oates novel of the same name. Cuban actress Ana de Armas has been praised for her performance despite the overall criticism of the movie.
At first, the project made headlines for getting an NC-17 rating. But then some of the more controversial scenes included Monroe’s unborn baby communicating with her. As The Daily Wire previously reported, one scene shows her pregnant womb glowing in an ethereal light with a clear image of the unborn child.
Then there’s the violence of a forced abortion in a scene where de Armas, as Monroe, screams, “Please, won’t you listen? I’ve changed my mind!” as a doctor inserts the speculum from the point of view of her cervix.
Later, Monroe is pregnant again when her unborn child begins talking to her, asking why she killed the baby last time and asking her not to do it again. She doesn’t, but instead miscarries in a bloody scene. Abortion is depicted as a gruesome affair that often leads to regret. That’s not how the pro-abortion activists want anyone to think about what they insist is a “harmless” medical procedure.
An IndieWire reviewer hated how abortion is portrayed in the film. “‘Blonde’ is a horrific, tone-deaf reminder of why a female perspective should be included, or at least asked for, when writing about abortion,” the reviewer shared.
“…the real trigger warning is for a trio of CGI fetuses asking why Monroe murdered them,” they continued, taking issue with how the movie humanizes the unborn children.
The reviewer describes how even though Monroe “wanted nothing more than to be a parent,” she fears it due to her tough childhood. So she decides to go through with an abortion but sees signs while traveling to the appointment indicating she’s making the wrong choice. Then after changing her mind, she’s forced to go through with the procedure.
“…The driver doesn’t turn around or even flinch when she starts screaming. Her screams echo through the halls of a hospital as her feet are forced onto stirrups, and the camera follows a DNC tube gliding through her vaginal walls,” the reviewer writes. “The audience is trapped watching this sequence, much like Monroe is held down on the table by the aforementioned tube, and it’s clear Dominik’s comments on offensive content are not about sexual assault but rather surgical assault on the ‘Some Like It Hot’ star.”
In the second abortion scene, it’s implied that Monroe gets pregnant by president John F. Kennedy and is forced into the procedure again.
“His goons kidnap and drug Monroe in the middle of the night; she is convinced the procedure is a horrible dream, but as she wakes up covered in blood smeared all over her abdomen, it’s clear the nightmare is only just beginning,” the reviewer writes. “There would never be that much blood afterward, but that’s not the point: Dominik is determined to shock and disgust, but at what cost?”
The Independent described the talking unborn baby as, “one of the film’s most disturbing bodily sequences.”
A reviewer from The Daily Beast agrees with that assessment, “Lest we want to champion the tortured actress for invoking her right to choose, ‘Blonde’ forces us to see a harsh metal device scrunch its way inward and toward a fetus, terminating it,” they shared. “The movie clearly—and, obviously, controversially—wants us to believe that the fetus is very much alive.”
When asked if he was pushing a particular viewpoint on abortion, Dominik said he was just trying to represent Monroe’s life as it really was.
“There’s nothing I can do about that,” the film director told The Sydney Morning Herald when asked if he regretted how “Blonde” dealt with abortion in light of Roe v. Wade’s reversal.
“If people are looking at ‘Blonde’ as having a position on abortion, it does have a position and its position is that, if you’re an unwanted child, pregnancy is going to be deeply ambivalent.”
“There’s something in it to offend everyone,” the director promised during an interview with The Guardian.
Ultimately, Monroe’s abortions are nothing more than rumors. The procedure was illegal at the time she reportedly had them and no one knows for sure if she actually had one or several. She certainly wasn’t “shouting her abortion” like modern actresses are so likely to do.
“Watched by all, seen by none,” is the movie’s tagline, meant to convey the tortured inner life of one the world’s most revered movie stars. Even though the book and the film take liberties with historical events, there’s a good chance having abortions would have added to the trauma of Monroe’s life. The movie is a dark portrayal of a tortured star that realistically portrays abortion in a strange yet sobering light.
“What the movie is saying is she’s not seeing reality. She’s seeing her own fears and desires projected onto the world around her,” the film director told The Wrap on the question of “Blonde” making a statement on the abortion issue.
“You see it constantly time and again that she’s reacting to a story that she’s carrying inside her. And I think sort of this desire to look at ‘Blonde’ through this Roe v. Wade lens is everybody else doing the same thing. They’ve got a certain agenda where they feel like the freedoms of women are being compromised, and they look at ‘Blonde’ and they see a demon, but it’s not really about that.”
He continued: “I think it’s very difficult for people to step outside of the stories they carry inside themselves and see things of their own volition. And I think that’s really what the movie is about. The dangers of that. But you know, it’s difficult for people to be able to hold two things in their mind at once. It’s either black or white.”
Dominik insists his project doesn’t take a side either way. “I think the movie is pretty nuanced actually, and I think it’s very complex, but that doesn’t fit — people are obviously concerned with losses of freedoms, obviously they are,” the filmmaker continued. “But, I mean, no one would have given a sh** about that if I’d made the movie in 2008, and probably no one’s going to care about it in four years’ time. And the movie won’t have changed. It’s just what sort of going on.”
“Blonde” is not explicitly pro-life, but because it’s honest, it’s about as close as Hollywood will get to honesty about such a landmine topic.